n South African Medical Journal - Importance of shielding blood donors from harm : correspondence

Volume 104, Issue 6
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



To the Editor: An adequate and safe blood supply remains a challenge in South Africa (SA), and voluntary blood donors are a vital section of our healthcare system. Regular donors (people who make ≥3 donations in a year) are of key importance, because they are the source of a constant flow of blood to the South African National Blood Service (SANBS). The donor gives one unit of whole blood, which involves a venesection of approximately 480 ml (SA law prohibits more). The donor loses approximately 180 mg of iron per donation. The upper limit of frequency of blood donation for both men and women is 6 units/year. By law in SA, a donor cannot donate more frequently than every 56 days. During the 2013 SANBS financial year, 797 623 donations were collected, of which 756 358 were whole-blood collections.

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